Following concerns raised to me by a retailer in the paved pedestrianised zone and a resident who slipped and fell when the paving stones were slippery following a recent downpour, I have been in discussion with Kettering Borough Council about the pedestrianised area and in particular how a better dialogue can be generally be opened up with the Council and retailers.
These discussions took a further twist the other day when I was contacted by another trader complaining their takings have plummeted since a utility company had started works adjacent to Market Place.
Once again the trader complained of poor communication, and although they had been told months ago work would take place at some time, they had not been given any further details or the opportunity to discuss it. Had they had the chance to do so they would have suggested that doing the work now, just when their takings were starting to rise following the winter, and just before Kettering host’s the Women’s Tour cycle race and the Kettfest weekend was perhaps not the best time.
The contractors had allegedly said they had been given permission from Kettering Borough Council to delay completion until after those events; an allegation strongly denied by Kettering Borough Council who said that Northamptonshire County Council had not informed them and they would expect the work to finish before the Women’s Tour as the County Council were perfectly aware of the event as part sponsors.
Once again this seems to be an example of the two Councils not speaking to one another and in particular of Northamptonshire County Council not bothering to discuss anything with Kettering Borough Council - and not even allowing them to speak directly to them on the phone. Several urgent emails have been flying back and forth (not least from myself), and I’ve just gone past today and it seems as if the work is being hurried along so it is finished in time - but only by doing a temporary tarmac repair (see photos).
The concern I have about that is that immediately next to this new work outside Barclay’s bank is a temporary repair that BT did last year. This too was a temporary tarmac fix apparently done in a hurry so it was ready for last year’s Women’s Tour. A year on it has still not been fixed properly despite it being a potential trip hazard. Northamptonshire County Council have been made aware and were supposedly chasing it up with BT some time ago. I hope we are not chasing up a permanent fix for this latest work a year from now.
Click image to enlarge.